“Being a mother of small children and working full time as a partner is demanding, but I love my job and haven't regretted a second that I accepted it,” says Astrid. She has gained the position as a retail partner after many years in various positions at Specsavers. Like so many others in the chain, she started as a vacation and part-time shop assistant while she was studying. The management soon recognised her talent for sales and personal service and already the first summer, the part-time job turned into a full-time job.
Astrid continued to study marketing at BI (Norwegian Business School). She financed her studies by working as a store assistant and optician's assistant as often as she could. “I was so happy in the store, with sales and eye health. When they offered me a permanent position, I couldn't resist,” says Astrid. She decided to seize the opportunity and take a break in her studies. The break has become a long one, but in return, Astrid has gained experience and developed through a number of courses and programmes at Specsavers.
In the summer of 2021, a new era began in Astrid's life. She's 30 years old and a freshly baked mother, with a man who's often absent working on a Coast Guard vessel. On top of that, she takes over as a partner in a Specsavers business with human resources responsibility for eight to ten people. It's easy to understand that she has her hands full.
“Fortunately, I knew what I was going into,” says Astrid, who has had the role of general manager in the department at Sørlandssenteret for a couple of years, and in Kristiansand city centre for some months. Over the past years, she has also completed Specsavers’ Partner in Development programme. The programme is online, with some gatherings in Copenhagen and a final exam.
“I can’t believe I’m a co-owner of a Specsavers business,” says Astrid. She says she was surprised by all the opportunities that opened up for her in the Specsavers chain when she became a permanent employee. From day one, she was offered courses and was presented with opportunities for career development within the chain. She was sent to the support office in Oslo for training and she was assigned responsibility in line with her development. “I was overwhelmed and not least inspired by how talent development permeates the entire organisation,” says Astrid, and adds that this is something she herself will emphasise in her role as a leader.
Astrid tells that for her, staff management is the best thing about the partner role. She enjoys being a leader and having personnel responsibility for a group of eight to ten employees who are all different, with different backgrounds, different ways of being, and different assumptions. “I’m the outgoing type who likes people, both customers and employees,” she says. “It’s about motivating and making the cabal go up in staffing terms. Then it helps that I have stood on the floor and taken the long sessions myself. I know that it is tiring sometimes and how important it is that I, as a leader, show that I understand just that. The store is going well, and that makes it important to take care of the employees, provide well-being and a good environment that provides the basis for good and profitable operations in the future as well.”
“Work hard and become a partner,” exclaims Astrid when we ask her to give advice to anyone looking for the next step in their career. It’s not hard to understand that Astrid loves her job. She particularly highlights the support and training she has received from Specsavers as crucial to her being a partner today. She’s been getting bigger roles than she expected all along. And through those challenges, she has grown and evolved.
Showjumping was Astrid’s great passion when she was young. She competed at the top level and participated in several Norwegian Championships. There were many hours in the stables. Maybe that’s why the math grades didn’t turn out well enough for veterinary school? It doesn’t bother Astrid because she has her dream job at Specsavers.